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September's Journal



17/10/2017
[17:10] Alongside what I hope is a confirmed booking for someone to come and redo the shower/wet room has been another (apparently very good) builder/carpenter/joiner who doesn't seem to be reading my emails. So when I say "I'm available until midday on Thursday" he comes back with "OK, I can come round on Thursday or Friday at 17:00". See, that doesn't work for me as I'll be in Kenya. Hopefully I'll be able to book something for when I return, possibly only after I return at this rate, given the speed with which all of these tradespersons seem to read and respond to emails.

In work news I got three servers built and configured such that they'll be available to the people who need them before I go away at the end of play tomorrow. With luck they'll do some testing and breaking of things tomorrow such that any issues they come across I can get fixed, or at least point them in the right direction.

I ran at lunchtime today. I felt I was going fairly quickly, but it turns out it wasn't tremendously fast. More than fast enough to raise a sweat, even in the fairly cold but clear weather, though. I'm unsure if I'll run tomorrow morning. I probably will, and before work. Then I'll get home, do my parents' seat reservations for their flights to Frankfurt and Nairobi, have a shower, breakfast, pack, and head to work for my last day of it before early November. Honestly, there's not much I can or should achieve tomorrow so I imagine it'll be quite a nice day, albeit a little boring.

In other news the previous utilities supplier for the new house has finally sent me a bill, but apparently only for one utility as my new supplier still hasn't moved over one of them, or at least given the old supplier a final reading. This is also causing me to not be able to book a set of smart meter installations before I go away either, which is galling. I'll try for the last time on Thursday morning from home before I give up until I get back from Africa.

16/10/2017
[17:35] Typically, as I prepare for the trip of a lifetime, I appear to potentially getting tonsilitis. I'm going to be gargling with salt water, taking vitamin C (for all the good it'll do) and generally looking after myself as much as I can before I run my immune system down by flying a red-eye flight to Nairobi on Thursday night. I'd really like not to be ill, please. I can't think what it might have been that lowered my immune system so much as the weekend was pretty great, really. On Friday, after Rachel arrived on Thursday evening we got up relatively late, considering, then she got on with work and did various things around the house. I also popped out to B&Q and managed to get an expired gift card from my grandmother reissued. That's earned my custom for the next few visits required to get DIY things. Some other stuff happened on Friday, but for the life of me I can't remember what they were, other than my ordering a bucketload of Ikea furniture to arrive in November. We had a nice evening though, which was good. On Saturday morning Rachel had to head back to Croydon to get a lift to an away hockey match, I went to parkrun and ran reasonably, although not incredibly quickly. After I got back and had cleaned up I had a bathroom fitter around who pretty much confirmed that my current shower/wet room was fitted by people who had no idea what they were doing. After a good forty minutes with him he left me with a brochure and told me to get in contact if I wanted work done in January. After that I actually went ahead and had a go at painting one of the ex-feature walls (the one in the bedroom we're using). I had two types of magnolia to choose from. Even after it dried and lightened up the next day I'm still not entirely sure I chose the right one. For a treat I went out and got Chinese food for dinner as Rachel wasn't going to be back until very late. When she told me what train she'd be getting I jumped on my bike and met her at the station, which made me much happier than her cycling home on her own close to midnight. On Sunday we got up, had a leisurely breakfast in the sun outside, and then ran a gentleish (relatively speaking to what we might be capable of) half marathon distance, then had a delicious mess of scrambled eggs on toast. The remainder of the day was spent doing trip logistics, catching up with paperwork, Rachel preparing a roast-ish kind of dinner, and us settling down to watch a bit of television before bed.

This morning, after Rachel had left for the station, I headed into work with a list of things to do. I seem to have managed pretty much all of them, other than not having had a confirmation from the bathroom fitter, or a carpenter/joiner I asked to come around before Thursday lunch time. My tonsils seems to be inflamed, although better than they were when I got up this morning. I've done some research and there's not really anything I can do other than tough it out. Hopefully it'll have subsided within a week, as that's when I'm running the marathon.

I'm off home now, hopefully without getting a face full of Saharan sand, which has caused the light outside to become a very strange colour. Only two more working days remain.

12/10/2017
[17:20] I think it was quiet next door last night. When there are two cars outside (guests?) it tends to be quiet over night. When there's one or none I think the daughter (very late teens/early 20s) seems to go to town on gaming or chatting with someone. Anyway, I slept, but still woke in the small hours as there might have been some noise of some type. Also I'm getting incredibly hot at night for some reason again. I don't know if it's a diet, stress, or other thing, but it's something I've had before. I just hope it goes away again.

In other news I seem to have discovered another issue with the 'shiny' shower/wet room. It's potentially the reason the underfloor heating temperature sensor is broken (thinks the floor is always at 50degC when turned on, meaning I have to shift it into another mode (power level, not "max temperature to reach", mode)), that is that the grout around a number of the floor tiles is cracked and the hollow sound when you tap on some of them is probably due to them having lifted because of water getting underneath them. As a result of that, and documentation on the mermaid panel web site about not having the panels go all the way to the floor (there should be a spacer tile layer of some kind to stop water being drawn up into the panel's wooden/MDF backing), not to mention the damp issue in the wall, and the lack of temperature control over the shower itself... I'm going to probably have the whole thing checked/removed and refitted, floor, shower area walls, pipework. Given I'm probably going to be going to Ikea for all of my now-not-bespoke-fitted furniture for the dining area and bedroom I think I should be able to afford it. I really feel like this is the only thing that seriously needs doing to the house, and I'd really like it if it was done before Christmas when my family visits and the room gets a lot more usage than it does when it's mostly just me and a bit of Rachel.

Anyway, that's that. I've got someone coming to see the whole mess on Saturday, so hopefully he'll be able to render an expert opinion, a quote, and a timeframe for getting things fixed. In other news I got up early this morning and did another 16K run, starting pretty much in 'middle of the night' darkness. A much easier out-and-back route than the more circular one I did the morning before. This probably accounted for pretty much exactly the same time, but it feeling like somewhat less of an effort.

Work today has been bitty and for the most part all about hunting out work to day. Other than about an hour ago when I got a VM request. I got that done and out of the way before leaving this evening as I'm not in tomorrow. So, yeah, that's about it really. Have a good day tomorrow, and a nice weekend. I'll be parkrunning, talking to a bathroom fitter/builder, doing a limited Tesco shop, laying out clothes for Kenya, and generally trying to relax about the house as much as possible. Also Rachel and I will be perusing the Ikea web site a lot and potentially even picking a delivery date for a mass of flat pack shelving/chests of drawers, etc.

11/10/2017
[17:30] Neighbour noise update: Some noise last night between 03:00 and 04:30. Also before midnight, but I went to bed early so that's my own fault, I guess. I'll see what happens tonight/tomorrow morning before popping round again to see what can be done about it. It wasn't as loud as previously, but it still seems to be waking me up. Stupid single skin walls.

In the end I was wide awake come 05:55 when I was due to get up so I'd be back in time to shower, have breakfast and be at work in time to enter the local half marathon when the web site opened at 09:00. I duly did my run and felt rather jiggered afterwards, limping into work on my bike just in time to make the 09:00 deadline by the time I'd sorted myself out.

Over the course of the day I've done the usual work-related stuff, solved a few issues here and there, sent a few emails, and generally tried to do good things for everyone. I also got a call back from my surveyor with his thoughts on the damp issue with my shower/wet room. I made copious notes and have duly passed them on to the plumber I have managed to get to come round on Saturday morning. Hopefully they'll be useful for him in telling me how much it's going to cost to do the needful.

I'm heading home now for a quiet evening of not very much at all. I'll try to get up and do the same run again tomorrow (although possibly in the other direction, although that means stumbling through the local park in almost pitch blackness if I don't pack a head torch) before coming into work. I guess it depends on the weather, whichs eems to be taking a little turn for the worse. Rachel's also coming tomorrow evening, which will be marvellous. We're going to think about Ikea furniture rather than the horrendously expensive fitted units I was hoping to have.

10/10/2017
[17:10] A quick dinner with Kate last night to catch up on each other's news, then I headed home and got in a quick Tesco visit before curling up for the night in front of the television, and then bed. Happily there was no noise from next door that kept me awake so I slept through until a moderately normal time before I started to worry about what I was forgetting to worry about. So I got up, did some morning exercises, had a shower, and then discovered a text from the surveyor saying he could come and see the place around 10:30ish. I fired up the laptop and worked from home until he arrived and then we wandered around the inside and outside of the shower/wet room taking moisture/damp readings. The upshot is that there is definitely damp, but we can't really see what's causing it. It might be just the fact that the brick is of a different type that retains more moisture, and especially so because it's painted, or it might be the shower water fitting internally, or it might be water creeping up the back of the mermaid panel/between the panel and the brickwork, or something else. Apparently it's a "strange one". He's going to ruminate on it and potentially call me if he thinks of something. In the meantime I can either try to ignore it, or have a builder come out to take a look and quote me for potentially removing a mermaid panel, finding the cause, potentially installing a waterproof membrane and putting everything back together. If I do go ahead there's no guarantee that once the panel comes off (damaged in the process, potentially) there might not be anything to see and I'll have wasted my money. In any event I contacted two bathroom fitters via checkatrade.com today and have had a reply from one of them to come and take a look on Saturday morning. So at least it feels like I'm doing something.

In other news Rachel's tapped up her joiner about quoting a better price for the fitted units I want upstairs and downstairs and he seems enthusiastic about doing something. I've also had a look on Ikea's web site and if no-one comes up with a price I can stomach/afford there's always the fallback of a wall's worth of Billy bookcases and CD/DVD racks. Likewise for upstairs there are options which wouldn't quite fit the gap available in the way I'd like, but would do the job for a fraction of the price I've been quoted so far. Also I'd be able to take them with me if I wanted to, when/if I move.

I got into work at around 11:30 and dashed off as many small tasks as I could before 13:00 when I headed out for what I thought was a fairly fast run, but turned out to not be anything terribly special by the time I'd finished it. That's OK though. This afternoon I've been doing more involved tasks, but still nothing particularly meaty. Hopefully something more exciting will turn up tomorrow, or I'm just going to stress more about my house instead.

09/10/2017
[18:00] I really do feel like I'm losing muscle mass/tone these days. Not to mention feeling like I'm just getting a bit more flabby and tubby. I don't imagine I am (all that quickly) but once I've done this marathon I think it's time to seriously think about a gym membership and put a bit more meat (muscle) back on again. If nothing else I was stronger when I did Boston, and I think that's why I got a good time. Unless my running training was better then, or I was just younger. Anyway, feeling a bit lumpen and... rounded at the edges.

Over the weekend I did parkrun (reasonable time), then eventually headed to London to see Rachel and her parents. I met her at the train station and we had a rather nice takeaway lunch at an American diner-style place before cycling home together. Her parents turned up slightly unexpectedly later on after having seen something at the theatre in London, then we spent some time chatting and catching up. There was a nice curry out later on in the evening, although we had to wait an extremely long time both to order and then for our food to arrive. It was tasty when it did, though. I did open myself up to a bit of a hard time from Rachel and her parents when I whinged about my house and how hard it was to get it fixed, not to mention the rather eye-watering quote I'd had from the one builder/carpenter I've managed to get out thus far and quote for the works I need doing. So that was a bit galling, but my own fault, really.

On Sunday morning we were a little slow to rise, but then went for a nice walk to a local park before Rachel headed to London for a meeting and I walked her parents back to the house and then sent them on their way. For the remainder of the afternoon I worked on eliminating warnings and errors from Rachel's laptop (some very odd ones regarding her PCI Express subsystem, among others). Once she got back we went for a short run together as the light faded, and then had a lovely evening of just the two of us.

This morning was a relatively early rise, then two trains to get to work. On the way into work I popped into my conveyancer's office to thank him for everything and to see if there was any paperwork I needed to pick up. There wasn't, which was good. I headed to work and have spent the day doing useful things for people, as I'm apparently supposed to in my job description. I've also had a revised bill for the water at my old house (much more sensible, I've even paid it), managed to finally get my gas and electricity supplier that I moved to from the one previously supplying my new home to accept meter readings, and even scheduled a date to be able to call up and ask for smart meters to be fitted. On top of that I've contacted two other carpenter/builders to ask them to come and quote for the things I want doing (this side of Christmas would be great). Obviously nothing back from them yet.

And now it's time to get out of here for the evening. Hopefully when I get home the house will still be there, and unbroken into to boot. I should go to Tesco when I get home too, rather than just collapsing in front of the television for a few hours before bed.

06/10/2017
[16:55] I nearly got up early this morning to run 16K or so, but I didn't. Instead I stayed in bed and timed my departure with the bank opening so I could deposit a cheque. Duly done I headed into work. Not a lot has happened today, although I did find time to scan in the sketches of the shelving units I'd like build in the bedroom and dining area.

Oh, last night I mowed the lawn for the first time. It was with a lawn mower I borrowed from a friend who lives just down the way from me. After that I repaired the battery compartment flap on the camera he's letting me borrow to take to Kenya (along with a very nice lens) and did a bit of cleaning and tidying (including packing up the wallpaper steamer for collection).

So yes, today was all about fallout from the not quite internal ructions regarding technical decisions being made at work. Nothing to do with me, but happening in the same room so I got to be a fly on the wall for them. Also I went for a run at lunch time to make up for not running before work. I didn't do the 16K I had initially been planning on, but 10K was more than half of it, so I'm satisfied. I did the last two kilometers fairly quickly, so there was some effort involved. The weather was lovely, and should be quite nice for the cycle home and weekend, I hope.

This weekend I'll be doing parkrun locally, then popping to London to see Rachel and her parents after having done the Tesco thing. I'll be back on Monday morning for work.

05/10/2017
[17:05] Rachel arrived last night, but neither of us were in 100% best form, and even a delicious curry from our favourite place couldn't quite lift the slight ennui in the house. It felt like it lasted through until morning for me, but that was probably just my over-sensitivity. Rachel headed to London and I headed to work where I spent the first part of the morning working with a coworker to move a VM from one site to another, along with its attendant SAN volumes. That all seemed to go perfectly smoothly, which was nice. It turns out that the move of the live server (this morning was the development server) is now going to happen while I'm away in Kenya, so I've written up an exhaustive checklist for my coworkers to follow. They're going to try it out moving the development server back again as moving it has placed somewhat of a strain on the RAM available in that VMWare cluster.

I didn't run this morning, and I'm not going to run this evening. We did consider getting up very early this morning so we could run together before work but even though there wasn't any noise from next door (something was creaking and banging in the small hours, but it turned out to be my own side gate) I didn't sleep very well and both of us decided to sleep in as much as we were able given our morning schedules. I'm off home now while there's still some light to have a go at finalising the sketches for the units I want built in bedroom and dining area. Given my family is going to be spending Christmas at my house this year I think it'd be a good idea to have a bit more storage so I can get my books and DVDs (and clothes out of the way so there's room for 4-5 (when Rachel's there too) people in the house. The builder/carpenter says he'll be able to do the work in time, but I'll believe it when I see it given how busy the tradespersons are in this town.

04/10/2017
[17:55] Despite there not really being any noise from next door after I fell asleep last night I still didn't sleep all that well. However, I was fairly well rested when I got up at 05:40 to get my run done such that I would be available for the waterman to call me (as he duly did, right on the button) at 08:00. I was therefore ready to swig down the last of my breakfast smoothie and cycle to work via my old house where a water meter reading proved that the previous reading was complete hogwash. Hopefully the fact that this morning's reading was taken 24 days after I moved out, and there are now two people living in the property rather than just me on my own, should mean that the reading that makes it onto my revised final bill should be pro rata for the day I moved out, rather than just today's reading. I'm not paying for two other people's showering, washing up, and clothes washing for the last three weeks.

After all that I headed into work where I spent most of the morning getting as complete a checklist on how to move a VMWare guest from one server room/SAN to another given local complexities. The afternoon was then spent on a bucketload of small and medium tasks. Oh, I should mention that it was pretty much pitch dark when I started my run this morning, which meant I needed a light (red) to see the path in the local park I started out in. I'm almost looking forward to doing it again on Friday morning (tomorrow morning I need to be in early to do the server move). Although now I think about it I'm hopeful the surveyor gives me time to do the work at work in the morning before he lets me know he's around and I have to cycle all the way home again... if he even contacts me tomorrow.

Anyway, I should go home now as it's getting dark and I need to clean and tidy before Rachel arrives.

03/10/2017
[17:00] Noticable amounts of noise from next door around 04:30 this morning. I couldn't tell if it was a television, or some kind of other playback, maybe narration of a computer game. Hopefully it won't happen again tonight as I want to be up quite early tomorrow to get a longish run in before theoretically going to the old house to watch a waterman take another reading of how much water I might have used.

In other news I've been given two expansion cards I have to arrange to get installed in two different halves of a live service, at the same time as moving the servers to racks (with their server rooms) which give better access to the SAN in that location. On top of that there's the server and SAN volumes/mounts data center moving thing to do on Thursday morning which (in combination with Rachel coming to see me on Wednesday evening, yay!) likely means no run that morning. But perhaps I can move it to Friday morning instead considering the parkrun on the Saturday won't be breaking any personal bests.

Otherwise today I've been fighting a number of small fires without seemingly making much (any) progress. I ran 10K at lunch time, so there's that. I'm about to go home and make an attempt to steam off the last of the wallpaper in the other bedroom (there's one more left, but I might leave that until it's dealt with by the much-mooted-but-unlikely-to-happen-for-years house extension.

So, yeah, I should go home.

02/10/2017
[17:35] I had a good weekend, thanks for asking. It started on Friday evening with Rachel being home, which is always fab. She made a delicious crustless quiche for dinner which I really enjoyed. On Saturday morning we did a gentle parkrun with her friend Angela before showing Angela the new house. They then headed off to the train station for Rachel to head to London for her hockey match and I did some cleaning and tidying before having a shower and doing the Tesco run. After that it was pretty much time for me to get to the station myself to meet Rachel at the other end for a train to York. She just about made it on time and we were able to get the train and our seats on time. In York we were met by her brother who drove us home. We had a great time with brother, wife, and nephew, including me being quite envious of their rather lovely house. The following morning plenty of chat was had before Rachel's parents also arrived and we popped into York city center to have coffee and cake. Then it was a quick sprint to get lunch to go, collect our bags from the car and we were back to the train station to await what turned out to be a completely delayed timetable of southbound trains back to London. When we eventually got on a train it was sitting-in-the-vestibule-room only, but as we weren't standing up that was fine. Hopefully there'll be a delay-repay situation that we can take advantage of from Virgin. I left Rachel in London to go a trustees meeting for one of the charities she's involved in and headed home on another train. When I finally got back I did a bit of housework and washing up before Max and Stacey arrived to see the new place. They managed to stay around until Rachel arrived home and then had to head off. At that point I convinced Rachel to let us get Chinese takeaway (not her favourite) which we ate watching some good television and feeling very pleased that we were getting to spend time together. Bed followed. In the morning Rachel headed to London (so many trains in her life) and I to work. Mostly today has been about fighting with a Red Hat Satellite upgrade (which luckily I had multiple chances to get right by dint of taking a life-saving VMWare snapshot beforehand). It turns out most of the issues were entirely of my own making. It seems to be behaving itself now, which is good. Otherwise I've been trying to get my gas meter readings submitted to my utilities supplier whilest their web site has been broken, as well as trying to get registered for smart meter installation. There was some other stuff that went on, but frankly I can't remember what it is at this point. I think I'll go home.